Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montréal, June 10, 2020 —A coalition of community and student organizations, backed by Opposition councillors at City Hall, are calling on the City of Montreal and its police department to adopt comprehensive police reform with the goal of stamping out racial profiling and systemic racism in law enforcement.

At a press conference held today in front of City Hall, the coalition put forward a five-point reform plan that will help the Montreal Police Service (SPVM) embrace diversity, equity and anti-racism in its operations and services. The five-point plan includes:
• A policy on bias-free street checks;
• Adequate public hearing on the policy, to be held by the Public Security Commission of Montreal;
• Mandatory body camera for all front-line officers;
• A policy on race-based data collection and annual reporting, and
• The creation of a Community Advisory committee to help implement the above policies.

Last fall, City Council unanimously passed a motion asking the SPVM to stop abusive street checks, following a study revealing that Black, Arab and Indigenous persons were disproportionately targeted. At the time, the SPVM had promised to develop a street check policy by March 2020. After the SPVM failed to meet that deadline, SPVM Director Sylvain Caron stated last week that the agency would unveil its new street check policy by July 8.

“Systemic problems demand systemic solutions, so the plan we laid out today is only one of the many solutions that must be implemented and closely monitored to achieve zero tolerance for racial profiling,” said CRARR Advisor Alain Babineau. “Every resident of Montreal needs and deserves a police department that serves and protects, instead of one that discriminates and alienates.”

The five-point plan partly reflects the demands of Councillor Marvin Rotrand’s Motion, introduced last month, which called on the SPVM to begin collecting and reporting on race-based data. However, City Council sent the Motion to the Public Security Commission for study, where it can languish for months.

“Many organizations in the Black communities fully support these measures, because systemic racism in policing has hurt us for years. After last week, we want change, and we want it now,” Jamaica Association of Montreal President Mark Henry said.

For Yvonne Sam, representing the Black Community Resource Center, “we not only want change, but we also want to be at the decision-making table to bring on change. The time for talk and exclusion is over.”

“We join this coalition not only because we want to support our Black friends, but also because we Filipinos have also known racial profiling,” added Ramon Vicente, External Vice-President of Filipino Association of Montreal and Suburbs.

For Isaiah Joyner, General Coordinator of the 37,000-member Concordia Student Union, supporting demands for comprehensive police reform is a natural decision.

“Considering our history with students being racially profiled and discriminated against, both on and off campus, we make it our mission to speak out because “enough is enough,” Joyner declared.

For Councillor Rotrand, the winds of change are blowing stronger, after last weekend’s giant march against racism. Last year, he organized a coalition more than 20 organizations serving racialized and Indigenous communities in Montreal to fight racial profiling (see List).

“We are at a turning point in this city when it comes to demands for concrete change against racism,” Rotrand said. ”This is a non-partisan, community-focused movement to bring about a new direction for Montreal and its police service,” he added.

For Lionel Perez, leader of the Opposition at City Hall, the lack of leadership of Mayor Valérie Plante on racial profiling and body cams is evident.

“We’re asking that a serious study of the SPVM street checks policy be done by the impartial Office de consultation publique de Montréal and not by the Public Security Commission. We are also asking that the Mayor immediately make public the OCPM report on systemic racism and discrimination,” said Perez, who was accompanied by Councillors Mary Deros, Josué Corvil and Abdelhaq Sari.

“We can work together to end racial profiling, whether we’re in Montreal-Nord or in the West Island, because the people of Montreal want to end racial profiling,” added Borough Councillor Renée-Chantal Belinga, one of the few Black elected officials in Montreal.

“Last weekend, we heard many mayors of other municipalities and boroughs talk the talk and take a knee. Now we urge them to walk the walk on comprehensive police reform”, Fo Niemi, CRARR Executive Director, noted.